NuGen nuclear project facing uncertainty as Engie exits

Toshiba has announced it will buy out partner Engie’s à‚ 40 per cent stake in the operator of the proposed NuGen nuclear power project at Moorside in the UK for $138m after Engie asked for the step under the terms of their contract.

The purchase means that for now, Toshiba will be more deeply involved in a business it is hoping to exit-nuclear power projects outside Japan.

Last week, Toshiba’s US nuclear unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., filed for bankruptcy protection following huge cost overruns at various nuclear-reactor projects.
NuGen
Toshiba said the Westinghouse bankruptcy triggered a clause in its contract with France-based Engie that gave Engie the right to sell its stake in the companies’ UK joint venture, NuGeneration Ltd. or NuGen. Toshiba already owns 60 per cent of NuGen.

NuGen has been trying to build three reactors using Westinghouse’s AP1000 model in West Cumbria, in northwest England. On March 30, NuGen said U.K. nuclear regulators approved the AP1000 design.

However, it is unclear whether the reactors will be built. Toshiba said that although it has to take full ownership of NuGen, it ultimately wants to sell the company. Toshiba’s chief executive has made clear that it wants to withdraw fully from the nuclear power plant business overseas to wall off the risk of further losses.

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